United Brethren has retired.

Catholic "LDS-style" missions?

A Florida Catholic paper has reported that Catholic Volunteers in Florida examining the LDS Church model of missionary work for possible emulation in the Catholic Church.

Soon, young Catholics will be singing, "I hope they call me on a mission". Good luck to them, but I think finding people willing to give up two years' of their life is one thing; getting them to pay for it themselves is another. Mormon missionaries are truly unique. Anyway, here are excerpts from the article:

Richard Galentino has a dream - for every Catholic young adult to spend a year or two as a full-time missioner.

Taking a page from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the executive director of Catholic Volunteers in Florida is on a mission to change and expand the concept of volunteerism within the Catholic Church.

"When you see two men in nice white dress shirts riding on bicycles through neighborhoods - you almost always think of the Mormons," he said. "In their faith tradition every male is expected to give a couple of years to do mission work here or overseas. We'd like to see that idea fostered among young men and women in the Catholic Church."

Galentino knows he and his staff have their work cut out for them but he has gained the support of the state's seven diocesan bishops to pursue the effort. The bishops recently awarded the Catholic Volunteers seed money to research the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and learn more about their missionary and volunteer concept.

Galentino is in the process of selecting two or three philanthropists from Florida's Catholic community to visit the Church of the Latter-day Saints' Utah-based headquarters to conduct a feasibility study on its missionary process.
Galentino said statistics on volunteering with long-term missionary programs shows that in the 1960s Mormons and Catholics were nearly even with approximately 6,000 volunteers each within their respective missionary programs.

Today, the increase in volunteers among the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has reached 60,000, while the number of Catholic volunteers remains virtually the same as it did in 1960.

"The problem is, right now, most Catholic volunteer groups recruit from the same pool - mostly out of college," said Galentino. "We should be planting the seed of expectation much earlier in elementary and high school so that by the time they graduate from college, long-term missionary service is virtually automatic."

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Anonymous Anonymous said ... (February 01, 2005 2:56 PM) 

I think it would be a good thing for Catholics to do this. It would raise the competition for us, of course, if they did this.

The article implies that people would do this after graduating from college. If that is the route they are pursuing, then I think it is a mistake already. After graduating from college is when people need to go right into their careers or else risk permanent disadvantages. We Latter-day Saints have it just about right: do this right after high school and before graduating from college. Sure, many (most?) Latter-day Saint missionaries, and particularly the women who go on missions, have some college under their belt before going. But often, perhaps with the exception of the women, they haven't actually graduated yet, so they are merely putting their education on hold. When they return, they resume where they left off in college and can then proceed directly into their career after college. 

Posted by john fowles


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (February 01, 2005 4:12 PM) 

The college thing can't be stopped and started in the UK as it can be in the US, so many UK saints, have to take up to a year out after school before they can leave on their missions.
It's interesting though that the Catholics would think of doing missionary work too. In talking to a friend who is Catholic recently, they have a great program in place for conversion - it takes a year of lessons and they are assigned a 'buddy' to guide them for that time. That sounds like a great idea to me - real conversion can take place. Maybe we can learn something from them too! 

Posted by Rebecca


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (February 01, 2005 4:19 PM) 

Funny, R, as I was about to say both things too! I spent six months after high school curling croissants in a cake factory waiting to turn 19 so I could go on my mission. That "lost year" is a bone of contention for many British LDS and was an excuse for some of my pals not to go on missions. We asked for the church to change its policy, which it did for a while in the UK before reverting to 19 as the mission age for males. Works great for Americans, but not so much for Brits. And if you have to do national service to (as many Europeans must) then all this time adds up....

As for the Catholic conversion model: I like it. If you can get a person to come to church for a year before they get baptised then you would eliminate the activity problem that we have overnight.  

Posted by Ronan


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (February 01, 2005 4:27 PM) 

If they install sprinklers in their cemetaries, they coud baptize for the dead...

I think it is a great idea for anyone to go for a few years and serve their respective faith. I think it makes for a more educated and stronger congregation. It would certainly make it nicer to have conversations ... Not to mention, maybe we could turn some folks back to things that matter? 

Posted by Jake


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (February 02, 2005 1:49 AM) 

If you can get a person to come to church for a year before they get baptisedSoundls like the bulk of the converts in France.

If they install sprinklers in their cemetaries, they coud baptize for the dead...I laughed out loud. 

Posted by J. Stapley


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